Markets, historic architecture, laid-back beach towns, snorkeling and scuba diving attract visitors to the eastern coast of the United Arab Emirates.
The forts, mosques, water sports and sleepy coastal towns of Al-Fujairah provide a view of the United Arab Emirates that is quite different from the stereotypical glamour of Dubai. Al-Fujairah spreads along the majority of the east coast of the country, interspersed with exclaves of the Sharjah emirate.
A good place to start your visit is in Fujairah, the emirate’s eponymous city. Although the area is not great for walking, you’ll find no shortage of reasonably priced taxis. See a slice of history at Fujairah Fort on a hilltop surrounded by picturesque date orchards. Go to the Fujairah Museum to inspect weapons, coins and other archaeological findings, some dating back to the Bronze Age.
Check out the Al Badiyah Mosque, said to be the oldest in the U.A.E., and then visit the sparkling Sheikh Zayed Mosque, which has a capacity for over 20,000 worshippers. Learn about traditional lifestyles and watch dance performances at the Heritage Village. Join locals for Friday’s Bull Butting event, when bulls lock horns in a test of strength.
Go to the town of Masafi, which straddles the Al-Fujairah and Dubai border, to experience the Friday Market. Despite its name, it’s open daily, with stands selling everything from fruits and vegetables to pottery and carpets.
Head north along Al-Fujairah’s coast and stop off at the various beach towns. Among these is Dibba, a town shared between the U.A.E. and Oman. Hike to idyllic palm-fringed beaches or bargain with a local fisherman for a boat ride. You’ll need your passport if you plan to cross to the Omani side.
Swim with colorful ocean life at Sandy Beach, where you can arrange snorkeling and scuba diving tours. Similar trips run from Khor Fakkan Beach, an exclave of the Sharjah emirate nestled in the coves along Al-Fujairah’s coastline.
The most convenient way to get to Al-Fujairah is to fly to Dubai. It’s then about a 1-hour journey by bus, taxi or rental car. A mild climate year-round makes it an enjoyable region to visit at any time.